tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 7, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT
couldn't do it, you did it, thanks very much for your time tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> that will do it for this wednesday edition of the last word, but our conversation continues on twitter, you can follow the show using the last word hash tag. everything from live tweeting during the show and the stories we're following during the day. the rachel maddow show is up next. good evening, rachel. >> i have to tell you, i messed up part of my mascara, when you said, it's the end of the world, i snorted out loud and messed up my mascara. >> i know it's not the end of the world much.
here's what i meant when i said that. a state supreme court election that nobody outside of the candidates and their families really cared about two months ago, has just signalled a 180 degree shift in the winds in the american midwest. there was a primary in this same wisconsin supreme court election, and a month and a half ago, the incumbent conservative judge who used to be a republican legislature who was supported by the conservative establishment in wisconsin, who was associated with scott walker, who scott walker said he would vote for, a month and a half ago, that justice finished 30 points ahead of his nearest challenger in that primary. there were four people running, he got 55% of the vote. nobody else got within 30 points of him. last night, however, with 100% of precincts reporting, it looks like that justice, that conservative judge has been unseated. judge david prosser has been
edged out by joanne kloppenburg. the difference between them, just 204 votes. here's joanne kloppenburg tonight declaring victory. >> we ran a campaign that was focused on being positive and respectful. and winning. and we did win, and we're confident that the margin will hold. >> although joanne kloppenburg has declared victory, the results show she is winning, by how close the results are, you can tell there will probably be a recount here. it will be the first statewide recount in wisconsin in more than 20 years. if that recount ends in a court challenge, which frankly they often do. the person who gets to appoint the judge to hear that challenge to the recount, if there is one will be the person who does not speak in this campaign ad, but who is nevertheless the star of this campaign ad.
>> what did david prosser call one of america's most respected judges? he called her a total [ bleep ]. prosser even threatened to destroy her. >> the chief justice of the wisconsin state supreme court who judge david prosser admits to calling a word that rhymes with rich and he will destroy her. she will get to oversee the decision in the recount in this race. joan kloppenburg not only winning, but close to be in striking distance, an astonishing turn. prosser got 55% of the vote a month and a half ago. now, with 100% of precincts in she beat him. and the rest of the results from this first election in the midwest since the republican union stripping adventure, the rest of the results have got to be just as worrying for the republican party. the other high profile race voted on yesterday in wisconsin was for milwaukee county
executive. this was seen as a race that was also another proxy vote on governor scott walker and the republicans. one of the candidates was a republican legislature named jeff stone. his democratic challenger ran ads against him. that looked like this. >> jeff stone is running for county executive. and milwaukee families are concerned. >> jeff stone? >> i thought he was scott walker's twin. >> sounds like more of the same. >> stone praised scott walker as a template for county executive. worse, stone says he stands with walker's plan. >> you've got to be kidding me? >> jeff stone? >> jeff stone is walker? >> in that race, stone was named as a scott walker clone. the race wasn't even close. the single most telling thing about what happened last night
in wisconsin. and how much it is freaking republicans out, the single most telling detail in all of the details that i have read today about these elections, the single most telling detail is what republican governor scott walker said about those elections publicly. you may remember new york daily news, ford to city, drop dead. all of the wisconsin newspapers could lead tomorrow with the front page headline, walker to state capital drop dead. staring down this massive electoral backlash to what he's done to wisconsin, governor walker told reporters today, i think it's clear you have two very different worlds in this state. you have a world driven by madison, and a world driven by everybody else in the state of wisconsin. >> okay, so drop dead second largest city in the state? what about the largest city in the state? what about milwaukee and its vote last night? what about milwaukee, where the guy associated with you, governor walker, just got beat 61 to 39%.
scott walker dismissed that. he dismissed that county executive race as having taken place in a dark blue county. who did that dark blue county elect the last time they voted for county representative? scott walker? the man who said vote for me, i'm not scott walker, he just got 61% of the vote, and he will serve out the final year left in scott walker's term in that county. scott walker is telling republicans all over the country who are looking at wisconsin in horror today, scott republican is telling republicans coast to coast, don't worry that milwaukee vote, for example? dark blue over there, dark blue, they never elect conservatives, don't worry. worry. that's where scott walker's career comes from, and that's the place that just elected a liberal to replace scott walker
out of horror with what scott walker has done to that state. the republican union stripping adventure in wisconsin has boomeranged on republicans in a bad way. in addition to those big losses last night, republican state senator recalls are now steaming ahead. over in ohio, is the same deal. republicans in ohio have just pushed through their own dramatically unpopular union stripping thing. the price for having done so is looming there too. the policy itself will be put to a referendum on the ballot this fall. the petitions to start that process have been submitted in ohio, the signature gathering process is kicking off. a big rally expected this weekend at noon in the state capital in ohio saturday. what may be worrying republicans in ohio are new efforts to create a process in ohio, by which statewide office holders could be recalled. they don't have one now, but they want one many john kasich has an approval rating of 30% after pushing through his union stripping thing.
one of the democrats introducing the statewide office holder recall measure says, "i think people are realizing they made a terrible mistake with this governor." the union stripping thing is not paying off well for republican in the states, at least in the short return. voters hate it, and voters are willing to punish anyone who pushes for this stuff. and it has woken up and unified the democrats like nothing else. so why are republicans doing it then? what compensates for this huge political cost they are pay something what offsets that cost they are paying? well, the people stepping in to fund the other side of the union stripping referendum in ohio, for example, looks like that will be americans for prosperity that's the koch funded outfit. explicitly making a callout for corporate money to keep funding the union stripping effort in that state.
in wisconsin, in the electoral proxy war, who helped fund the scott walker side it? who helped fund the union stripping side of it? in large part it was a group called citizens for a strong america. citizens for a strong america. seriously? who are they. the center for media and democracy connected the dots on this one. turns out citizens for a strong america are a mailbox at a ups store in wisconsin, through lots of digging through irs filings, we found out that citizens for a strong america is this one guy. the group doesn't disclose who they are or who funds them. but the only individual human who is found to be associated with this group is this one guy, a guy who works for americans for prosperity. the corporate funded koch brothers group. citizens for a strong america also happens to be headquartered
at the same street address as americans for prosperity. tada. why would conservative funders, conservative billionaires, conservative movement figures invest so much in this union stripping stuff? i mean, think about it. electorally it is bad for the republicans, it is really hurting the republicans who these guys are funding to do it. why spend the millions and millions and millions of dollars they're going to have to spend to offset how unpopular this stuff is. why is it worth it? this doesn't just change a policy. it certainly doesn't change a budget. this changes politics itself, this goes beyond funding individual republicans to win or lose individual republican fights, it is instead aimed at crippling one side of the political fight in this country. crippling democrats ability to fight on anything ever again. this is about structurally dismantling the democratic party this year and every year from here on out. dismantling the things that allow democrats to compete in elections, particularly against
corporate money. whether or not union contracts have any effect on state budgets or not, if you get rid of unions, if you make unions disappear, particularly if you make public sector unions disappear, then the corporate interests that give big money to republicans in elections, they have no competition. so democrats can't ever win. last year out of the top ten outside spending groups in that election, we've seen this before, right? 7 of those groups made their donations to the right. only 3 of the 10 made their donations to the left. and all three donating to the left were unions. if the unions are gone, republicans run the table. democrats cannot compete when it comes to big money and elections without the unions. therefore, the unions must die. it's not just that republicans hate union rights, we can argue about that, right? look at the effect. look at the effect of what they're doing to unions, they want to cripple the democratic party's ability to compete. >> if we win this battle, and
the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you're going to find is president obama's going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of wisconsin. >> that's how republicans involved in the union stripping stuff in the states explain on fox news the political effect of their destroying the unions. so even if it costs some republicans their jobs in the short run, for the big money guys who have their eye on the long term game. who have their eyes on the horizon, any short term costs for these little state run politicians, that's worth it. any institution that offers any support for democrats must be institutionally destroyed, or at the very least stopped from supporting democrats. if you like how that's working out with the unions, here's the newest case in point. remember freedom works, dick armey's group freedom works? it was founded as a koch brothers operation until it broke off in 2004.
their latest campaign is to get the ceo of an energy company fired. what? it's not even like one of those kooky hippy companies either, it's duke energy. they're in charlotte, north carolina. the head of duke energy is also co chair of the host committee for the democratic convention. it's a fairly traditional setup. that happens around big conventions. the company has offered to extend the democratic party a loan should they need it for convention expenses. does that mean that duke energy is a particularly democratic company? no, they also lobbied to get the republican convention to come to charlotte too. they're a charlotte company, they are headquartered in charlotte, they want a big convention in charlotte. it would be good for charlotte. because this particular big convention is the democratic party's convention, and by supporting that convention, duke energy could be construed as
vaguely having the temerity to vaguely associate itself with the democratic party, freedom works and all its funders are campaigning now. to get the ceo of duke energy fired if the unions support democrats, the unions must be destroyed. if any corporation strays, if any corporation strays and does something that can't even be construed as supporting democrats, the ceo of that corporation must be fired. it will be a shot across the bowel warning. this is not just about winning policy, this is about winning the political process, attacking anything that supports democrats, particularly with money. so that the democratic party cannot compete with republicans. and so that republicans funded by unlimited corporate donations after citizens united, so republicans can run the table. the beltway's all aflutter right now having this big fake fight about how much democrats and
republicans are working to avert a government shutdown. i say it is a fake fight, because republicans are clearly not working to avert a government shutdown, they're trying to figure out how to get one. for all the strategy on capitol hill, the real work, the real eyes on the horizon work, the real big picture, big money work of republican politics is happening in the states and in the corporate funded interest groups. they're not just trying to win the short term, they're not concerned with the short term viability of individual republican politicians careers. they're not trying to win the short term, they're trying to win the long term. they're trying to destroy the ability of the democratic party to compete in this upcoming election or in any election in the future. everyone is watching the front line fighting, but on one side, the supply lines are getting cut off.
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by this time of the night, reporters who work at the white house have usually been given a heads up that it's okay to go home for the night. in the news business it's called a lid. and the lid means that nothing more is expected to happen that night, it's safe to leave. that's not happening tonight. when president obama arrived back at the white house tonight, he went straight into a meeting with senator john boehner and senate majority leader harry reid. the government will shut down a little more than 48 hours from
now unless a deal is reached. anthony weiner joins me now, he's part of the leadership team in the house. thanks for your time. >> thanks, rachel. >> do you think we end up with a government shutdown? >> i fear we do. we're in this dynamic that we're negotiating for certain things. when john boehner went into his caucus and said they may have a shutdown, they all cheered. we think we're negotiating toward the same thing, trying to get government run as least expensively as possible. i believe a lot of john boehner's constituents, meaning the tea party members of congress are rooting for a shutdown. we had some of their tea party constituents out here chanting literally, shut it down today. i haven't seen much sign from speaker boehner that he's willing to stand up to those in his party. >> that dynamic you were describing, though, is strategically interesting, republicans who can get behind microphones keep saying they do not want a shutdown.
as you say, they go to these rallies of these supporters, and the supporters yell back at them, shut 'er down, sis-boom-ba. how does it feel to know that one side is hoping for negotiations to fail? >> the republican party has one element of their caucus that is unpopular in america. most people don't consider themselves extreme anything, let alone tea party people who want to shut down government, who don't realize how dangerous that would be to the economy. this is why boehner is third in line to be president, he's supposed to stand up to those elements. in the middle of everything else, i think completely getting forgotten about this, people in the middle class, and those struggling to make it, people who watch this debate and say, boy oh, boy, i thought these guys pledged when they came to town, they were going to run things better. it hasn't worked out that way. >> why do you think the
republicans in the house introduced the "we want to abolish medicare budget on the same week as the confrontation of this supposed shutdown of the government. do you think they're moving the frame to abolish medicare? >> that's one thing. they want to see how far they push this extreme agenda before many of us wake up and realize how far they want to go. the degree of the leg of the budget that ryan showed yesterday was, i think to some degree a canary in the coal mines to see how far they can push this extreme agenda. there are a lot of people here in washington, who really want to see -- and you introduced in your first segment, how far they can go to deconstruct many of the things we take for granted. many of our viewers say, oh, medicare, who's going to get rid of it, these guys want to. that's what this is about, how far they can push it. every day a ryan budget comes out, and people say, wasn't that
courageous of him, it gives them more impetus to try for more tomorrow. >> there's a fight going in the states and a fight going on in washington, trying to connect what's going on in republican party politics. i look at this union stripping legislation all over the country wherever republicans are in power, corporate-funded groups on the right are going after the ceo of duke energy, because the democratic convention is in the city where that company is headquartered. do you think they're trying to cut the democratic party sources of support? trying to cut democrat's financial supply lines? is this strategic? >> i do see there's always been this notion that we on the left and we progressives -- we see government as trying to move forward through clouds of dust. the active governance, we honor it, we try to do it. there is this element that always exists in the republican hierarchy to see how much they can just destroy the things that get in their way.
sometimes they're empowered, sometimes they're not. they feel empowerment right now, and they're trying to see how much they can do. a lot of the individual rank and file members of this so-called tea party movement are being used as pawns by the koch brothers and others. this is a part of a very sophisticated effort that transcends the states and here in washington. it also goes right to the courts. they have influence in the supreme court, the likes of which i've never seen corporate interests so well represented. we have to be careful, because if we don't start arming ourselves now, and start coming into this knife fight carrying library books, we're going to realize a lot of the things we take for granted are going to be undermined with these corporate interests. >> with the president meeting with speaker boehner and senator reid, when he comes out of that meeting, in this context in which the republican base is clamoring for a shutdown, even though republicans say they don't want that. what are you most hoping to hear from the president? what do you think his best possible role could be in this fight right now? >> to give the president credit,
he's kept a level head and tried to negotiate the best possible deal possible. i do think there has to be a certain level of line drawing here, what it is that our side is fighting for. they're fighting for smaller government, we're fighting to protect senior citizens and medicare and social security. they're fighting to cut tax rates on the wealthy, we're fighting for fairness in the tax code. we need him to define these two lines of the argument, so the american people understand what they're rooting for in the morning. i trust the president is going to drive a hard bargain here, but up until now it and been a clear, crisp argument. and hopefully that's what he's doing, laying down the law at the white house. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. one thing we all agree on, congressman paul ryan of wisconsin is in wonderful shape. he's the mayor of six pack city. i only know this because of all the profiles that mention what great physical shape he's in.
otherwise i might not personally notice. still, though, the media love affair with paul ryan may be clouding the american public's judgment about what paul ryan is doing in his job as republican budget guy. that is ahead. i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars... out of your own pocket. these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans... exclusively endorsed by aarp. when you call now, you'll get this free information kit... with all you need to enroll.
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>> if you think that sports are a stupid waste of time and indulgence, i'm guessing that your free throw percentage is not all that great. if you believe that all food is pretty much just the same? you think of meals as just nutrients you didn't have to bother with, i'm going to guess you are not a very good cook. if you believe that government is the problem, sometimes people put you in charge of it anyway. in the midst of the huge upset election results in wisconsin right now, scott walker is also dealing with a strange side show cronyism scandal, the milwaukee journal sentinel newspaper reports that in addition to hiring and giving a big raise to the 20-something reported mistress of one state senator, he also hired the son of a prominent corporate lobbyist. in fact both the mistress and kid were hired at the same agency, the department of regulation and licensing. you can imagine how seriously
governor walker and wisconsin republicans take the responsibility of the department of regulation. but then worse, governor walker promoted the lobbyist's son, giving him a raise to more than $81,000 a year to make the lobbyist's son head of environmental affairs for the whole state. the young man is 27 years old, his only jobs have been in republican wisconsin and working for his dad. he's a college dropout and he has two dui convictions. the other candidates for that job scott walker just gave him, a former state cabinet secretary with a doctorate, two masters degrees and experience seeing environmental regulation and cleanup. the other candidate, a chemical engineer who has been running the state agency for the past two years. both passed over for the dui kid whose dad gave scott walker a huge campaign.
same scott walker who found an exemption in his union stripping bill, only for the unions that endorsed him in his campaign. >> government is the problem. >> if you believe government is inherently a problem, if you i'd -- ideologically disrespect the whole idea of government, how should we expect you to run a government if you get your hands on one? ugh, my feet are killin' me. well, we're here to get you custom orthotic inserts. we can't afford that. yes, we can. dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center. foot-care scientists are behind it. ( man ) you have flat feet... no way... way.
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this is a graph of unemployment in the united states. this starts in the late 1940s and goes along charting the ups and downs of the unemployment rate over the years until we get to where we are right now. here we are at about 9% unemployment. and this is what congressman paul ryan predicts will happen to the unemployment rate in this country if we implement his magical republican budget. the red line there. really? paul krugman adds this economic symbol to the graph too help us understand.
a big red question mark. the 2.8% unemployment rate paul ryan says his budget will create. has it ever been 2.8% in the last 80 years? no, it has not. >> if the beltway could stop making out with paul ryan long enough to realize what's in his proposal, they would notice that some of the numbers in it appear to be made up. he got the 2.8% from the heritage foundation, the heritage foundation then scrubbed its website once people started asking questions about it. heritage foundation says they have rerun part of their model to reassess that figure. the heritage foundation is also what paul ryan relies on to convince you that cutting taxes for the richest people in america as he would do by 29% in his budget.
how he would convince you that that would have magical effects. to understand the kind of magic we're talking about, the heritage foundation ran the 2001 bush tax cuts through their magic making machine. in 2001, here's what the heritage foundation projected would be the effect of the bush tax cuts on employment. look, the heritage foundation predicted because of the bush tax cuts, 1.6 million more americans would have jobs by this year. this is what they said would happen to employment in america because of the bush tax cuts, this was their prediction. here's what actually happened. 1.6 million more americans do not have jobs this year. about 1.7 million fewer do. this is the same magic that paul ryan is using in his republican budget this year, it's the heritage foundation that told him massively cutting tax revenue would raise tax revenue. believe. mr. ryan also predicts within four years the housing market
will be exactly where it was at the height of the housing bubble. why? he doesn't know. believe. he calls the killing medicare part of his proposal the ryan rivlin plan, after alice rivlin who worked in the clinton administration. he wants you to think of her, a democrat and a lady, when you think about his plan to kill medicare. >> this path to prosperity builds upon those rivlin/ryan plans we put in here. >> how does alice rivlin feel about paul ryan putting her name on this? i don't back the ryan/rivlin plan. miss rivlin telling politico, we talked fairly recently and i said, you know, i can't support the version you have in the budget. the congressional budget office which is nonpartisan which tens to produce actual numbers, they analyzed paul ryan's numbers
today, by killing medicare, the elderly in this country would be paying a much larger percentage of their income for health care. debaker saying it would be a majority of their income. i doubt that fact based information will penetrate the love bubble surrounding paul ryan right now, he's done a wonderful job of romancing the beltway media. there's this cult of him being brave and bold and doing this workout every morning. what he's just introduced is not a pinup, it's not the brave story about a strong boy in a tough environment. it's the official republican party budget for 2012, and the numbers in it are so wrong they are occasionally funny. paul ryan should be taken very seriously, since this is the official republican party budget for 2012, taking him seriously should also include taking
seriously his numbers. which in many cases make no sense. joining us now is new york times columnist gail collins, gail, it is nice to see you again. i'm sorry about the smoochy-smoochy thing. >> i like his hair, he's moved his part. >> really? >> yeah. >> why with all the attention to paul ryan and his budget, why no attention to the numbers? i mean, the biggest numbers, the biggest projections in the budget are laughably weird or wrong. why no attention? >> i think that's the whole point of putting it out. i think it's great he put it out. he put it out, and now everybody gets to add and subtract it. it's the great part about it, and it's going to happen. and nobody likes it, i mean, the people in america are not going to like this budget. i think it's great if america
gets to decide whether they think this is the plan they want to go forward with. >> but the proportion of people who will read or be exposed to the beltway media take on it, as opposed to actually reading a plan itself, is -- there's a very large difference between those two numbers. there is say large ratio, the beltway media reaction to this is, do you know paul ryan does p-90x air morning, he's incredibly fit and so brave. the reaction to this does not involve any basic assessment of the fundamental proposals in the budget. is that to be expected? is that unusual in this case? >> everybody always likes it when somebody comes up with their own budget plan that's capable of being masticated and torn apart and ripped into is rids. >> that's what i want. i want the masticating. >> the whole world now knows they want to get rid of medicare as we know it, and that's very important. >> he's changing like he wants to personalize medicare or something. they're starting with the
euphemisms early on this. >> they're not going to be fooled on this, medicare goes away as we know it today. there's no question about it. the world's going to know that. i say go to it, congressman ryan. show us this thing. >> on that issue of medicare, i asked anthony weiner about this earlier this hour. do you think it's possible that they put out the i want to kill medicare budget the same week as the big showdown over shutting down the government so that the framing has changed? so that anything short of shutting down the -- anything short of killing medicare seems moderate by comparison? it makes whatever they come up, even if it's horrific seem not as bad as the medicare thing? >> if they did, it's a really bad plan. people will notice that the government is shut down, they really will. people won't like it, they won't be happy about it, and this entire thing. this all began -- the business about the democrats being not brave. last year the first year of the
obama administration, they stood up and put up a plan for how to fix the deficit by taking care of health care costs. the whole problem, health care costs. what did the republicans do? they didn't help, they didn't do constructive criticism. they ran around saying, pull the plug on granny, they're trying to kill your grandmother. they were as completely nonhelpful as you could be in the entire world. >> but then we're back to the same question that i'm reluctant to bring us because we talk about it every time you're here. which is they're not doing what they say they're doing. and hypocrisy is boring. if you are a -- if you are serious about the deficit, you cannot cut taxes for the richest people in the country by an additional 30% on top of leaving the bush tax cuts in tact. that will not get rid of the deficit. and yet, paul ryan is lauded coast to coast and on every show
as this serious guy who's really concerned about the deficit and doing what is serious about it. there is no connection between what is attributed to him and what he's offered. >> but he put it out. he's screwed everything up, it's a big mess. the numbers are all wrong. he's killing medicare as we know it today. he's ruining all the attempts to control medical spending, medical costs are not going to go down at all. he's doing all those terrible things, so fine, he's been brave. he works out in the morning, he has a better part. he put his numbers out, three cheers, and now, let's talk about them. >> well, while i have been complaining about nobody masticating, chewing over this budget, we have now just done it. >> we did. >> there you are. >> thank you very much. >> gail collins, it's always a pleasure to have you. >> thanks. what happens to executives at one of the companies responsible for the largest oil spill in u.s. history? do they get fired, publicly
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>> oh, yeah! [ cow bell ringing ] >> you can hear them ringing the cow bells. this cow bell was sent to the rachel maddow show more than a year ago. they sent it as a tactile reminder of their quest to have women's ski jumping anointed as an official olympic event. they failed to get into the 2010 vancouver olympics. what's the case that there was discrimination at work here? it was partly that men have been ski jumping in the olympics since 1924. women were ski jumping in international competitions and doing so very well, but they were not doing it at the olympics. the president of the international ski federation felt comfortable saying this out loud. >> don't forget, it's like jumping down from two meters, on the ground about 1,000 times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies, from a
medical point of view. >> those delicate lady parts. see, they don't like the jumping. delicate man parts, they love jumping. despite the compelling argument, today women ski jumpers got the news they have been hoping for as the international olympic committee announced it will include women's ski jumping in the 2014 games in russia. women will only be allowed to jump in one event as opposed to the three that men get. not perfect, but it's a start. but if the tough slog that got them this way is anything to go by, they'll get parity for those two events too. for some fevers, the only prescription is, you know -- we'll be right back. sam higgins...
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last week, we reported a story that i promised to correct later if we needed to because the story broke on april fools' day. and it really did seem like the kind of thing that was hard to believe, even when you saw it in print. >> transocean filed paperwork today on april fools' day informing regulators they are paying their executives big bonuses for their good safety year in 2010. 2010, the year the transocean rig blew up and killed 11 people and caused the worst accidental offshore oil spill in the history of the world. this was their safe year. look at this. look at this. this is from the filing. notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the gulf of mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record. as far as we can tell, this is actually real and not a joke. as i say, the "wall street journal" has posted this with a predate on it. it's listed as being april 2nd, even though today is april 1st and it's already up.
if we find out that this was in fact a joke i will be very happy about it and i will run the most relieved correction of my natural born life. that story, that unbelievable story about transocean did turn out to be true. it's true. congratulations transocean executives. your oil rig was the site of 11 deaths and this last year on the basis of that record you company is giving you safety congratulations and safety bonuses. this is the bp oil disaster. bp was drilling with transocean's rig when this happened. this is transocean's rig on fire. this is one of those rare stories when you don't actually have to say anything to invoke outrage about it. the raw fact of it is so outrageous enough that any commentary, even an adjective seems superfluous. the headline was basically the same at "the wall street journal" which first reported the story as it was at daily coast on the way far other end of the political spectrum. all the coast diarist had to say to convey the raw outrage is just the raw facts. transocean executives get bonuses. you don't reward people cash
money when their company just buried 11 workers, right? you don't. you wouldn't because you are human and you would probably feel very deeply sorry if you were involved in an accident that killed 11 people. but transocean is not a human. transocean is a company, a corporation. corporations do not have hearts. they have profits. they have interests. and transocean, the corporation, calculated this. notwithstanding this tragic loss of life in the gulf of mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record. that's what the corporation calculated statistically. and they gave their top executives cash safety bonuses because of it. transocean is not a human and, therefore, cannot be expected to have human decency. but those executives who benefited from the corporate calculation here, they are humans and whether it was out of embarrassment, concern over their image or real contrition, real remorse, the executives decided to give the safety bonus money away to the families of the workers who died on the company's rig. ceo steven newman explaining, "the executive team made this
decision because we believe it is the right thing to do." those are the transocean people acting out of embarrassment or maybe even contrition. but at least nodding toward the human decency that creates the capacity to feel shame. those are the people. and on the other hand, there's the transocean corporation. able to sense only the difference between profit and loss. the same way a cat uses its whiskers to walk around a house in the dark. and even as the humans inside transocean are having their moral experience of this, the corporation they work for is quite literally going about its business. in the same s.e.c. filing where transocean revealed these safety bonuses, the company lists accomplishments for this year. that list includes this -- we recorded the best year in safety performance in our company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident-free environment, all the time, everywhere. really? transocean, all the time, everywhere? the section continues, consequently, we believe we are well positioned to execute on our long-term strategic objectives over the next several years. you cannot believe this when
this happens, right? but you also cannot blame corporations for thinking like this. it's what they do. corporations pick out objectives and really it's one objective, of all corporations to make a profit, right? but then they just do whatever they can to achieve that aim. sometimes all the way up until they hit a disaster. if regulations are lax enough. corporations are different from you and me. you are thinking about strep throat. your insurance company is thinking about the cheapest, most profitable way to deal with it. you are thinking, hey, a quick flight to visit grandma. you are thinking a bank is a safe place to put your money. you are thinking, okay, power up the lights, but the company is thinking how can we run this place more cheaply, more efficiently? how can we get the most money out of this? how much profit can we mine right up to the point of calamity. how much profit can we mine? how much profit can we mine right up to the threat of calamity? corporations are not humans and we should not anthropomorphize them and think they are.
however cuddly their marketing departments would like us to think they are, hey, faces of coal, they're still corporations, machines designed to maximize profits. and we should think of them that way. we should not expect them to do what is nice or what is decent. we should expect them to do what is profitable. doesn't take a dark cast about corporate living to understand that. when what is profitable turns out to be indecent or inhuman, we should not expect shame to work on them. you don't have to hate corporations or feel spiteful toward them or resentful of them to understand that our social contract should extend to stopping them from doing some things they would otherwise like to do in the pursuit of profit. to stopping them from doing something that helps them but hurts us. they will not regulate themselves. it would be unnatural for them to do so. they're not people. corporations seeking profit, regardless of the human cost it is rational. it's business. and watching out for the humans in that equation, that is what governments are for.